Our NRT gathering for June was last Tuesday at Garden at the Cellar in Cambridge. We arrived at 7pm and were told it would be a 45 minute wait, unfortunately they don’t take reservations. I can’t imagine what the wait on a weekend night must look like. It is understandable though as the room is tiny. As you enter, on the right is a long bar with about 6 seats. Then the tables are lined up on the left with a long wooden banquet seat. Most of the tables are two tops with only 2 or 3 four tops. The tables have beautiful shinny copper tops which together with the brick wall and wood floors give the room warmth and glow.
We were quite hungry by the time we sat down so we promptly ordered the rosemary-truffle fries, homemade tater tots and the Halloumi cheese with tomato chutney. The fries were perfectly addictive with lots of rosemary flavor! The tater tots were also good but paled compared to the fries. I personally thought that the Halloumi was the best of the three appetizers! The cheese was fried perfectly and the tomato chutney was a great tangy accompaniment!
A few of the group ordered appetizers for their main dishes. The cod fritters with chives, and citrus remoulade were very good! They had a lot of cod, without a lot of filler. The citrus remoulade was just wonderful with a tartness and acidity which complemented the cod. We also tried the steamed littlenecks with greek yogurt, bacon, and green garlic appetizer. I am not a big fan of clams but the yogurt sauce was the best! I have not had bivalves prepared in a yogurt sauce and I thought it was wonderful! The sauce was just perfectly piquant and also very flavorful with the garlic and bacon.
One of the entrées at the table was the Pork Cheek Pot au Feu which was served with the white bean puree with roasted garlic and oregano. The pork was delicious! Perfectly braised with a lovely flavor and very tender. The white bean puree however, was an odd choice of pairing. Not only that, it wasn’t good. It seemed to have a very strong flavor almost like a blue cheese which overwhelmed the white beans and detracted from the dish.
I had the spring onion flatbread with ricotta, bacon, and asparagus for my entrée. It was nicely prepared with a thin chewy crust and a tasty combination of toppings. But, it was not the best pizza I have had in town.
Overall, Garden at the Cellar is a lovely room with some very well made dishes. But, not all were outstanding and given that they don’t take reservations and we had to wait about 50 minutes on a Tuesday I am not sure I would rush back.
Garden at the Cellar
991 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138